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China tests QW-12 missile capabilities

China may try to sell the QW-12 MANPADS to countries already operating the QW-2 systems. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

China tested its QW-12 advanced man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) for intercepting helicopters, jet aircraft, and cruise missiles in a live-fire test.

The state-run newspaper, Global Times, on 14 February quoted the government-run broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) as saying that the QW-12 was recently tested in northern China.

The QW-12 hit a “specially designed target aircraft” developed to simulate an attack helicopter by mimicking its infrared signal, the Global Times said. It “ignored” the flares released by the target aircraft before hitting it. The QW-12 also intercepted a 122 mm rocket flying at a speed of 360 m/s while simulating a jet aircraft and a cruise missile. The missile also intercepted a fast-moving target head-on after employing its laser proximity detonator.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) exhibited the QW-12 for the first time at the Zhuhai Airshow in China in November 2014. CASIC said the missile system retains the QW-2 MANPADS' “direct targeting” and “safe launch” capabilities. The Chinese aerospace corporation also said the missile employs “superior jamming performance” and its warhead is made of prefabricated tungsten alloy fragments.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence , the QW-12 is a variant of the QW-2 MANPADS. The missile system closely resembles the Russian 9P322-1 launcher operated with the 9K313-1 Igla-1 MANPADS. It can engage targets from 0.5 to 6 km in distance and at altitudes from 10 m to 4 km. The QW-12 is a handheld shoulder-launched weapon but can also be mounted on light vehicles and ships. Global Times said the launch vehicles “can carry several missiles”.

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